Water Safety Expert Witness On Aquatic Accidents Part 2

In What’s Your H2O (Safety) IQ?, water safety expert witness Dr. David Smith, Commander, USCG (RET) writes:

The following 20 questions were the basis of a key address to the First International Boating and Water Safety Summit, April 18-25, 1997 in San Diego, California. The Summit was sponsored by the National Water Safety Council and The National Safe Boating Council. This article is taken from the proceedings of the Summit. The article has been repeatedly updated to reflect current aquatic accident statistics. Human physiology, by contrast, has not been known to change in the last 10,000 decades.

How well can you answer these twenty boating and water safety questions:
6. How far from safety are most drownings?
Ans. 10 feet or less.

7. How many drownings are: [a.] observed by relatively near witnesses?
[b.] initially reported to a lifeguard in a supervised setting (lifeguard does not detect)?
Ans. a. Estimated 60%, b. Estimated 70%
(per American Red Cross survey, 1984.)

8. What are the four main types of drowning?
Ans. Primary -dying at the scene of submersion.
Secondary -dying within 72 hours of ingesting water and/or chemicals, pollutants, or biological matter into the lungs [there may be more of these than primary drownings -no one knows exactly].
Wet -displacing air with water in the lungs and sinking to the bottom.
Dry -suffering a non-released spasm of the larynx/ epiglottis, not ingesting water into the lungs, remaining positively buoyant but unable to breathe [about 10-15% of all drownings].

9. [a] What are the four signs of drowning?
Ans. A. Victim is vertical in water with no supporting kick or lateral movement; B. Victim has head back and mouth open to breathe in -They cannot and do not cry out (drowning is silent.); C. They have their arms extended out from their shoulders, pressing palms downward into water; D. They bob up and down.

[b] What is usually not a sign of drowning?
Ans. Crying out.

[c] What is the longest survival of submersion with total recovery in North America?
Ans. 66 minutes, summer of 1986.

10. What happens to a person wearing heavy clothing, such as fire fighter turn-out gear, or fisherman’s waders if they fall into the water?
Ans. Nothing, besides getting wet if they know what to do and have practiced fully clothed, relaxed back floating. [Where is their PFD?] And -fire fighters’ PFD’s work best when worn under turn-out coats.

Read more: https://www.jurispro.com/DavidSmithCDRUSCGRET